SMS Marketing for Charitable Organisations

4 April 2014

Since the global economic downturn of 2008/2009 charitable donations have reduced a significant amount in the UK.  Many small and medium sized charities are suffering in particular as they do not have the resources for marketing and promotional activities.

Research from the Charities Aid Foundation has shown that 58% of 18 to 24 year olds have expressed an interest in using their mobile devices to donate and that at present 62% of charitable organisations are yet to provide a means of donation via a mobile platform. Thinktank Respublica has estimated that by 2014 text donations could be worth up to 96 million pounds annually.

Charities that have engaged with mobile marketing have seen very pleasing results in the amounts and frequency of donations.  Macmillan Cancer Support have reported that 11.5% of its revenue is achieved via their mobile site. Mobile marketing is also very economical compared to newspaper, magazine and television campaigns.

Most people have their mobile phones on their person during the day which provides an excellent opportunity for charities and fundraisers to interact with prospective donators to promote their causes.  Mobile websites and mobile apps are now being provided by the larger charities, however smaller charities have not had the budget to develop these tools.

SMS campaigns have been used by charities of all sizes and budgets and this medium is proving to be a very effective means of marketing and brand promotion. Charitable organisations can create a database of subscribers and interact with them using a SMS (text) service.  Some charities have added to their database by linking up with popular brands for competitions and giveaways which also provides positive publicity for both parties.  Advertising short codes on products and in popular places is also another tactic to attract subscribers using SMS.  Also, an excellent opportunity exists to attract subscribers by including an opt-in option when people are completing Gift Aid forms.

Having created a willing subscriber database, charities can use SMS for marketing and promotional activities:

•Inform of upcoming events

•Links to websites and social media

•Using short codes for sponsored competitions and giveaways

•Promote charity places in marathons and other fundraising events

•Announce jobs and volunteer opportunities

•Giving automated replies to thank subscribers for their donations.

The mobile marketing platform will continue to grow in the coming years and be an effective way to engage with the younger generation.  Whether it’s an SMS campaign or a mobile application, this means of marketing and communication will be vital to compete successfully in the third sector.

For further information on this subject and a trial of an internet-enabled SMS service, TextAnywhere offer a free trial with 20 free text messages complete with support and advice.

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